Ever been on holiday or for a weekend away with your kids (or step-kids in my case) where frankly you ended up wishing you hadn’t bothered? Every suggestion met with grumbling dismissals, endless ‘I’m bored’ comments, or interminable tantrums and sibling arguments enough to frazzle your nerves.
Holidays are a chance to relax and leave your worries behind but sometimes holidays with kids in tow make you wish long for a return to work. Thankfully it hasn’t happened much but it has happened. Our last overseas family trip to Turkey was not a resounding success shall we say!
Some may call me a wicked step-mum for daring to suggest that life with the little ones can be stressful, but if all you parents out there are honest with yourselves, you will recognise an element of truth in this.
Perfect Northumberland weekend for teenagers
I’m a sucker for punishment however so last month we agreed to head to Kielder forest park in Northumberland with three teens in tow. Given that any suggestion of a long walk or mountain bike outing is usually met with blunt teenager hostility, is it possible to enjoy a weekend getaway with teenagers and not end up wanting to throttle them?
Well, let’s find out. To help me answer this questions, I have input from my teenage step-daughter, Abbey (aged 19 and 3/4). She is going to share with you her experience of our recent weekend visit to Kielder.
Abbey’s weekend escape in the British Isles
Spending time in log cabins and holiday cottages has been a regular occurrence during my childhood and late teens, so I was pleased to find out I would be participating in another treasured trip, a chance to spend time with my family and not really focus on much else.
As I sat in the hot tub, surrounded by outstanding views, I listened to nature around me, watching the odd red squirrel scampering the nearby trees and felt completely content, not having to worry about life’s everyday stresses coming with becoming older.
Being literally in the middle of nowhere is a freeing feeling, although at first not having a phone signal was rather daunting (Anne: ha ha I don’t know how she coped!) but spending quality time with loved ones seems that little bit more special with no distractions.
Although relaxing in the hot tub is great, I was pleased to find out about the large variety of activities on offer at Kielder. When my dad asked me and my siblings if we wanted to try shooting crossbow, obviously we were rather excited. I have to admit I don’t have the best aim in the world, quite embarrassing when your (little) sister’s getting a bullseye every time!
Possibly the highlight of the weekend was playing boules with my family; this was hilarious because we were all so terrible and the grass was so boggy the balls were just sinking into it. Safe to say I was covered in mud at the end of the game!
Bar and restaurant
As someone who does appreciate a good glass of wine, I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely the on-site bar was. Decorated modern with a warm positive ambiance I felt content drinking my large glass of chardonnay. The food served couldn’t be faulted and I was happy to indulge in large inviting portions you would expect from any good restaurant.
Being literally in the middle of nowhere, to get to civilization you most definitely need to travel by car. Surrounding villages are about 15 minutes away so there is a lot of driving involved. Quaint tea rooms and cosy pubs occupy these areas so there’s no trouble in finding a good pint.
Soon to be turning 20, everyday life is a stressful confused blur. Usually life’s issues are cured by cheap whiskey and head numbing nights out with friends, so trips like this are a refreshing pleasure. I would recommend any young adult to drop life for the weekend and spend quality time with loved ones in this blissful haven situated in one of the most calming places in England (It’s even better when someone else is paying!).
Final musings from Anne
So it seems our weekend getaway was rather appreciated by Abbey even without a trace of whiskey in sight. For me personally, our weekend getaway to Kielder was the best trip away we have had together in years.
Even without glorious blue skies, scorching temperatures and lots of bars nearby, everyone enjoyed themselves. I think the last time we scored a winner like that was when Abbey was about fourteen and the other two children had yet to enter the hormone infested teenage years!
So hands down, you can do a weekend visit to Kielder with teenagers and have everyone survive the experience.
Top tips for parents
- Check out the activities on offer at Leaplish beforehand. There’s tons to do including outdoor activities, a visit to the Birds of Prey centre and star gazing in the dark sky park.
- Do pre-book activities in high season to avoid disappointment and those irritating ‘I’m bored’ moments.
- Book a cabin with a hot tub – there’s no better way to keep the teens entertained!
- If you have younger children, come in winter to experience a true winter wonderland with Santa and his elves.
- Read our review of the cabins for more tips
And finally, I will finish with those all important money-saving travel tips for a weekend in Kielder.
Pin this for a forest gazing weekend in Northumberland:
Disclaimer: We stayed courtesy of Leaplish but all views are our own and totally unedited. We say it as it is!
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